Oscillation

Oscillation

BY Trail Of Tears

(Customer Reviews)
$15.00
$ 9.00
SKU: MASCD0818
Label:
Massacre Records
Category:
Gothic Metal
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"The seventh studio album for Norwegian dark gothic metal band Trail Of Tears comes fresh on the heels of a new label deal with Massacre Records. Beginning their writing sessions in 2011, the quintet would record again in the familiar French Sound Suite Studio with Terje Refsnes behind the boards who they've worked with on and off since 2002's "A New Dimension Of Might" record. "Oscillation" is a 13 song, 59 minute plus platter that travels through dynamic gothic metal pastures, incorporating a slew of extreme and commercial elements that should keep the listeners on their toes.

The cascading, echo guitar passage that opens "Waves of Existence" quickly gives way to this thumping gothic charge, Bjorn Erik Naess using a myriad of heavier picking and clean transitions on his guitar while extreme vocalist Ronny Thorsen and female clean vocalist Catherine Paulsen trade off the verse and chorus work to heighten the contrasts within the song. "Scream Out Loud" as a follow up is slightly more commercial in nature, the keyboard hook and alluring high melodies more in line with long-time Nightwish fans (although the whispering vocals from Ronny bring classic Moonspell to the table).

Many will appreciate the heads down emphasis on aggressive guitars and semi-progressive/ tribal transitions for the title track (some of the best drumming on the album courtesy of Bjorn Dugstad Ronnow) and the upper soprano vocal delivery from Catherine on "Room 306"- wrenching out all of the drama that makes this sub-genre appealing to a wide swath of the populace. Trail Of Tears belong in the metal genre as they are unafraid to approach these arrangements with ferocity- emphasizing darkness and despair through all facets while adding outside influences from the symphonic world as texture and not overpowering the mix.

"Oscillation" is a strong effort from Trail Of Tears- packed with an assortment of dark gothic metal colors and professionally executed from a veteran act. Let's hope we don't have to wait 4 years between the next recordings." - Eternal Terror

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    $5.00
  • Jabs is settling in and it feels pretty good.  This one doesn't quite hit the heights of Lovedrive but all in all not a bad hard rock album.
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  • This is the first North American release for Move, the fifth album in the Freak Kitchen discography.  Freak Kitchen is led by renowned guitarist/vocalist Mattias Eklundh. The band describes Move as "More metal, more experimental, more fascinating… will please the fans and will without any possible doubt convert the newcomers." It is also the first album to feature drummer Bjorn Fryklund.  Intense guitar driven music that blurs the fine line between progressive rock and metal.  Essential for fans of Frank Zappa, Bumblefoot, and Steve Vai."Freak Kitchen return with their fifth album, a new drummer and bass player. The first noticeable difference is the inclusion of double kick drums at the beginning of the opening track "Propaganda Pie." They definitely add an extra metal "oooomph" to Freak Kitchen's sound.Of course Eklundh fills the album with crazy, off-the-wall, impossible to play solos and licks. His playing alone is worth the price of the album. But that is not even the best part, as basically every song on the album is extremely catchy and memorable. These are the type of songs that get stuck in your head for hours.The lyrics generally deal with real world issues, such as sweatshops ("Logo"), divorce ("Seven Days In June"), and drug addiction ("Herion Breakfast"). The topics are serious, but generally the music is upbeat; they are addressed in a somewhat sarcastic way, although a few songs could be considered 'depressing.' Probably "Seven Days In June" and "Razor Flowers." The latter track is sung by the bassist, and he does a great job.Move is definitely not 100% TR00 METUHL, but it rocks, and it has the high quality of musicianship that metal fans enjoy, so it should appeal to many a listener." - Metal Archives
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  • "Never say Casey Crescenzo lacks ambition. If this guy had been in the control room for NASA’s lunar mission, he would’ve been griping about how we weren’t thinking “big” enough. The Providence-based songwriter is the self-styled Proust of prog rock. If he’s so vain, it’s because the song is about him, though what it’s really about is the aporia of existence and the cyclical nature of life, etc., etc.Restraint might not be Crescenzo’s strong suit, and he’s probably not moving any records with his sense of humor. But six albums into his career as The Dear Hunter, he’s right where he feels most comfortable: in the middle of an epic album cycle that explores the birth, life, and eventual death of his navel-gazing nom de guerre.When we last left off in summer 2009, The Dear Hunter’s overarching narrative had just reached the conclusion of Act III. That’s three full albums dedicated to the convoluted story of a boy who comes of age in the early years of the 20th century, with three more still to go. Before picking up with Act IV, however, Crescenzo stepped away from his magnum opus to focus on writing another concept project, a series of nine EPs about the color spectrum. Some musicians choose cocaine as their preferred drug. Crescenzo might be the first to develop a genuine addiction to big-picture rock records. Even 2013’s Migrant, the first non-conceptual album in the Dear Hunter catalog, feels like a grandiose production. Crescenzo described it as a “slightly more stripped-down” record, but that’s like calling a humpback slightly smaller than a blue whale.Whether you love or loathe The Dear Hunter will likely depend on factors bigger than one album, or even six. Like The Mars Volta, Coheed and Cambria, and other modern acts that fly the prog flag, this isn’t a band for those who seek out rock music for its simple, visceral pleasures. The stakes on a Dear Hunter record are high as heaven, and Crescenzo genuinely sounds like he’s trying to squeeze more out of his talents with each outing.This much holds true on Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise, the long-awaited continuation of the six-album concept series that began in 2006. If the complexity of Crescenzo’s songwriting has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade, so has his fans’ eagerness to extract a coherent story from his lyrics. Online forums overflow with musings on The Dear Hunter’s hero (or anti-hero — we’re never quite sure), and it seems the band’s mythos has benefited from the internet culture it has evolved alongside.All of this obscures the fact that Crescenzo is far more interesting as a musician than as a lyricist. His “story” is too often hindered by vague, flowery language and one-dimensional characters saddled with names like Ms. Terri and Ms. Leading (get it!?). We’ll leave the more narrative aspects of Act IV to annotation sites, which seem to have been made for highly textual bands like The Dear Hunter. Suffice it to say there’s some batshit stuff going on here, though much of what happens in the protagonist’s story is rooted in Crescenzo’s own life. Here’s the dirty secret: Strip away the concept, and you’re not really losing all that much.As far as the actual music goes, Crescenzo has never sounded more willing to take chances. The results are sometimes strange, sometimes thrilling, and sometimes both. A title like Rebirth in Reprise suggests that repetition can be a cleansing or purifying act, but Crescenzo doesn’t sound like he’s moving in circles here. He throws the whole damn sink into opener “Rebirth”, which transitions from a choral invocation into a chamber waltz with a flick of the maestro’s wrist.Crescenzo enlisted Bay Area musicians the Awesöme Orchestra for this chapter of his tale, and he sure gets his money’s worth. They steal the show on “Rebirth” and lend a snappy, swinging rhythm to the epic centerpiece “A Night on the Town”, making it feel shorter than its interminable nine minutes. Aside from texture, the orchestral arrangements add a crucial sense of time and place. Act IV is supposed to take place in the early 20th century, and the horns especially evoke the Jazz Age. It’s a good look for The Dear Hunter, a band that’s always relied heavily on atmospheric elements but has never sounded as confident in their tools as they do here.In some ways, Act IV is the most ambitious entry in the series yet. It’s also among the more accessible. Tucked into all that prog silliness are some successful standalone pop songs. “Waves” is a pretty, contemplative rock ballad that takes its cues from the anthemic folk rock that’s blossomed in the years since Act III. The song’s soaring guitar line is reminiscent of Icelandic indie rockers Of Monsters and Men, and its lush production is typical of the genre. “The Squeaky Wheel” is more of a conventional piano rocker, but its subtle variations remain interesting throughout, and Crescenzo’s voice shines at the front of the mix.Other cross-genre stabs at pop accessibility don’t work out quite so well. “King of Swords (Reversed)” is powered by a disco beat that feels anachronistic at best and cheesy at worst. Not even Crescenzo has the power to bring disco back.In fact, the back half of Act IV — pretty much everything that follows the three-part continuation of “The Bitter Suite” — features more stumbles than outright triumphs. 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  • "The Contortionist are really speaking my Language (PUN!) on their first full-length with Last Chance to Reason's Michael Lessard on vocals.Last year I went to see Between The Buried and Me and one of the openers was The Contortionist. I knew of them vaguely from my college radio days, but couldn't recall much. I was mainly interested in seeing them because Michael Lessard of Last Chance To Reason had just been announced as their permanent vocalist, and I fucking LOVE(D?) Last Chance To Reason. The set was mostly (if not entirely) from their album Intrinsic and was pretty solid, but I felt like Lessard was a little out of place. He wasn't quite at his full potential. This brings us to Language, and this is Lessard and existing Contortionist members at their best.Language opens with a melodic piece comprised almost entirely of vocal layers that I could really only compare to something on the level of Imogen Heap. The album keeps the melody going on the following track "Language I: Intuition" and it is fucking gorgeous. With the exception of a few parts the song suppresses the metal, instead opting for a rhythmic post rock feel. The heaviness does pick up as the album progresses, but there is definitely and ebb and flow (an idiom that appears a lot in the album) happening that favors the prettier side of the band, and I don't have a problem with it. There is still quite a bit to headbang to with the very next tracks, "Language II: Conspire," "Integration" and more.  So don't fret, they haven't gone soft by any means.It's unclear to me how much of the album is the added influence of Lessard, and how much is natural growth here. The band was able to progress their sound enough while staying grounded in who they are. I find this is rare for a band in general, but especially rare for a band often lumped into the "djent" category. This record is a lot more of everything that worked. It is heavier when it needs to be, it is bigger when it needs to be, it is prettier when it needs to be, etc. For example, "Thrive" could have easily fit anywhere into Intrinsic for about the first minute or two, but then Lessard soars and the song crescendos into pure atmospheric metal glory to a level they hadn't achieved before.I realize much of this review is praising Michael Lessard's vocal abilities, and if Level 3 didn't already cement him as one of the best voices in modern metal/rock/whatever, this album should (I mean, just listen to him on "Ebb & Flow"!). However, this band is really tight and unique regardless of who is the voice. Often bands in the rhythmic, atmospheric, progressive blah blah blah, genre will give in to tropes of the genre, The Contortionist either avoids them or spins them enough to make them seem outside of the box. So many bands will have one guitarist chugging along in wacky rhythms with the bassist and drummer while the other guitarist noodles over the top, and it's just so overdone. These guys will either have everyone noodling in a cool way interweaving with one another, or they just go different directions completely. This could be said about previous records as well I'm sure, it's just especially notable here.This album is not everyone. If you're quick to lazily label any rhythmic progressive band out there as "djent" and dismiss them accordingly, you should probably just not bother here. This album is for fans of progressive music, atmospheric metal, theory nerds, and especially the previous work of either LCTR or The Contortionist.I was a much bigger Last Chance fan going into Language, but this has really turned me on to The Contortionist more. This is a fantastic release that is best digested as one long piece." - Metal Injection
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  • "‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ is a conceptual album by Swedish band THERION that features only French lyrics and consists of cover versions of old French pop songs from 60-70s. THERION celebrates by "a special art project", headlining by the material, its 25 anniversary. It was also said that the album is available only during the tour and from THERION online store; it is sponsored by the only founding member, Christofer Johnsson. But you can buy it i.e. on Amazon as well. I am not going to go at length comparing THERION old and new and trying to rationalise things. The reason is simple, as this album was actually the first that caught my full attention. I start from the cover: it's full of topless females. Obviously, Charles Baudelaire's legacy is quite reminiscent there. The cover is made of a quite rich artwork of Saturno Butto, themed mainly erotic and varying from matte painting to charcoal sketches.Most of the songs here are quite short, yet powerful. Why these songs? I have at hand some lengthy explanations from the press kit, but in fact it boils to one single thing: the overall direction of French songs that are dark and telling some quite grim stories. Yet we all aware of a largely poetic language and melodic music background of French culture. Christofer has a great, fluent knowledge of musical styles and approaches, so he claims influences from King Diamond, Candlemass to folk music and ABBA. The album is beating with energy, in carries you along with its set of 15 songs performed mainly by the lead opera singer, soprano Lori Lewis.Of course I was curious about how exactly the original songs were altered. It's too much of effort to get past all these tracks, so I picked few favourites. ‘Mon amour, mon ami’ by Marie Laforet is a playful pop song, performed originally in circus-like up-tempo, but THERION specialists worked closely in order bring about the "inner darkness", toned down tempo and timbre and added traditionally "darker" music instruments such as organ - so song became indeed heavier and more minor, yet more powerful and strong. ‘Polichinelle’, performed with a cute teenage girl's voice by France Gall, is initially a pretty love ballad that relates to a Commedia dell 'arte character (note that comedian masks are worn by the naked ladies on the album booklet. (Thumbs up for the throughout conceptual work!) THERION ended up with an operetta rendering of the song, making of it somewhat of an opera house hymn, this type of sound you would expect from contemporary French musicals. Despite being one of the most experimental pieces on the album, it would be, probably, one of the most noticeable tracks.Finally, Victoire Scott's ‘Une fleur dans le coeur’ - Christofer did not like very much a feature you can hear in original, the honky-tonk (tuned-off) piano that he only describes as "dreadful". Instead, THERION interpretation is deeply lyrical, with plenty of acoustic guitar and strong soprano of Lori multiplied by the riffs you might expect from Jann Tiersen, metal additions and whole lot of different styles changing one to another. One drawback that I see is that the vocal style often remains of the same across album, so if you listen to 15 songs in a row, you might be tired a bit with the similar style. Yet the band paid enough attention to insert pleasant breaks by quest vocalists. The album sounds sound, fresh, and original and there is additional fun to compare originals to the covers." - Reflections Of Darkness
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  • Second album from this post-Santana lineup is a bit more commercial than the debut but there are still progressive overtones. Neil Schon shines again.
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  • Arjen Lucassen's long awaited Ayreon project is a total blast.  Like some of the earlier Ayreon albums, it owes as much to prog rock as it does metal.  All the old school heroes like Emerson, Wakeman, Wetton get to strut their stuff showing a young stud like Rudess a thing or two.  As always Lucassen latches on to some of the best vocalists around and this one is no exception.  Highly recommended.PLEASE NOTE THERE WILL BE A VERY EXPENSIVE IMPORT "ART BOOK" EDITION FORTHCOMING."You know what the metal world needs more of? Musicals. I'm not saying that ironically either. Sure, we have plenty of prog bands putting out concept albums, but cool as these records many be, the story themselves are not the focus of the album. Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen has resurrected his grandest of all projects to continue showing these folks how to tell an epic story the right way.With 01011001 the Ayreon story came to an end, or so we thought. Arjen instead decided to focus on projects like Star One, Guilt Machine, and his solo album Lost in the New Real. When he revealed not too long ago that he was working on a new project, it wasn't a surprise to discover it was new Ayreon, but I was still plenty excited.Lucassen said of the newest record, "It's not science fiction, but a human story set in a science context." So no aliens or battling emotions or any of that. So, in an attempt to better understand the story, I contacting him for the lyrics and much to my surprise, he sent them to me saying, "Oh yes, you need the lyrics, definitely." Holy hell, was he right. The story is indeed more grounded than previous records, but there are still layers to this beast.Fans of Ayreon should know what to expect here. The Theory of Everything has seven guest singers and each singer plays a part in the story. They are JB (Grand Magus) as the Teacher, Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) as the Mother, Michael Mills (Toehider) as the Father, Tommy Karevik (Kamelot) as the Prodigy, Marco Hietala (Nightwish) as the Rival, John Wetton (Asia/ex-King Crimson) as the Psychiatrist, and Sara Squadrani (Ancient Bards) as the Girl.Of these singers, the most impressive is the relatively unknown Sara Squadrani. She performs on a large portion of the story and shines every time, especially on "Love and Envy". I was also surprised to be so enamored with the performance of Christina Scabbia. She's always had  a wonderful voice, but her performance in this record might be her finest. Her harmonies with Squadrani stand out particularly on "Mirror of Dreams". This isn't to say only the performances by the female singers are worth mentioning. Tommy Karevik's introduction in "The Prodigy's World" is one of the strongest moments on the album.Press_Photo_01Every Ayreon album comes an eclectic group of guest musicians. This round primarily consisted of guest keyboardists. Rick Wakeman (ex-Yes) handles a good portion of the record, while Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) both make excellent solo appearances on "Progressive Waves".Having listened to all of Lucassen's albums at least once, I can say The Theory of Everything is the most musically diverse offering he's had a hand in, perhaps with the exception of his solo record. This isn't as heavy as previous Ayreon titles, but it has its driving moments like "Collision" and the Dream Theather-esque "Frequency Modulation." The aforementioned "Love and Envy" is a slower introspective song, while "Diagnosis" is massive and a little cheesy, but so awesome. "Transformation" has a Middle Eastern feel to it, and  "The Eleventh Dimension" sounds like intergalactic renaissance faire music.Often times there are jumps in mood, genre, etc in the middle of a song. This is fairly typical for an Ayreon release; what isn't typical is that technically this record consists of only four songs. These four songs are each at least twenty-one minutes, but they are cut up into forty-two pieces (yes, that's a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference) .This is a fun record. It's a record that does require a time commitment. I'd say listeners should treat it as a proper musical or film in a theater. Try to experience it all in one sitting for the full effect. It's absolutely worth it." - Metal Injection
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  • Second album of fine melodic metal from former Savatage member Zak Stevens, doesnt stray that far from his former bands path. Its not Savatage but its close enough. Comes with one live bonus track.
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  • "Periphery have been an omnipresent force in the prog metalcore realm since their first album released in 2010 – band founder Misha Mansoor has served as producer on several of the genre’s albums, and the other members are all famous in their own right, whether it’s simply for their craft (Matt Halpern), their involvement in other projects (Spencer Sotelo, Mark Holcomb, Nolly Getgood), or just simply being the nephew of someone exceedingly famous (Jake Bowen). This makes whatever they decide to do extremely important, and the band’s decision to release a concept double album has created hype of hugelargic proportions. In my humble opinion, the band has delivered on all fronts, but not without some disappointments in the “could’ve been” area.Since their inception, Periphery have changed from a chugga-chug ambidjent project posting demos on the internet in the late 2000s to a full-fledged prog metal band with heavy elements of metalcore, post-hardcore, and pop music in general. If you weren’t onboard for “Periphery II”, “Juggernaut” likely won’t change your mind (unless your issues were relatively small), as it’s more of the same poppy atmosphere and less of the techy downtuned riffs, though god knows THOSE are still around. But there’s also a lot of style experimentation – jazz fusion, death metal, and various forms of electronica are all utilized on a semi-normal basis, and range from being seamlessly integrated into the music to being tacked on to the ends of songs like gluing a top-rate dildo onto an already particularly throbby penis. If this all sounds a bit schizophrenic, rest assured that the songcraft is, for the most part, tighter than it’s ever been. Singles from Alpha like “22 Faces” and “Alpha” itself show off Periphery’s pop prowess with choruses and hooks that refuse to leave your head, and complex riffs that are somehow just as ‘wormy as the vocals. And the songs on Omega are longer, more complex, and still manage to be as infectious as the most annoying of STDs – even the twelve minute sprawling title track that has more in common with the bombastic riffs of Periphery I has a shapely middle section that rivals even the hottest of…ugh, fuck it, done with the metaphors. It’s just insane. I cried when I heard it.And now onto what I don’t care for; first off, the decision to split the album into two parts was definitely well-informed from a marketing standpoint. Most people don’t go around listening to 80 minute records all day, myself included, and the supposedly delicate structure of a concept album also means that listening to Juggernaut by skipping to different songs would devalue the experience. So the band broke it into two records to make it seem more manageable to listen to in daily life. Another stated reason was so that newcomers to the band would be able to buy Alpha at a discounted price, decide if they liked it, and then purchase Omega if they were so inclined (music previewing doesn’t work like that anymore, but hey you can’t fault the band for trying to turn that into tangible record sales). The problem I have is that Omega isn’t really paced to be its own album, which makes releasing it on its own instead as simply as the second disc in a package a little pointless. It’s not like the excellent “The Afterman” double albums from Coheed and Cambria, which were each albums that worked in their own right. I realize that this is really just semantics, but I think calling Juggernaut both the third and fourth album from Periphery, while technically correct, is just disingenuous, and judging them fairly on their own as separate albums is impossible (which is why all reviews being published are including them together).Periphery has always had a unique way of pacing their albums, regularly including playful, sometimes relatively lengthy interludes between tracks. Juggernaut is no different, and these interludes are now occasionally used to seed songs that will appear later on the album, or provide callbacks to tracks already present. The transitions aren’t always elegant however, and can range from grin-inducing to head-scratching to just plain grating. 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The play button is calling my name." - iprobablyhateyourband.com
    $11.00
  • Lifesigns is a new band put together by keyboardist journeyman John Young, along with Nick Beggs (Steve Hackett), and Martin Beedle (Cutting Crew).  Featured guests include Steve Hackett, Jakko Jakszyk, Thijs Van Leer, and Robin Boult.  5 long tracks that have a contemporary prog sound but with nice extended instrumental parts.  Not a technical tour de force - emphasis here is on melody.  I'm reminded a bit of Steve Hackett's recent works.  While John Young has written all the material, bassist/Stickist Nick Beggs quietly steals the show.
    $15.00